In combat you absolutely have to be aware at all times and I know it sounds obvious, but I have seen many people winning a confrontation only to ‘not see’ the other guy coming at them from behind with a bottle or something more sinister.
You need to develop a wide range of vision and it is more than just peripheral. You have to imaging that you can literally ‘see behind you’. Before you say this is impossible and from a physical point it is, you must learn to develop your instinct or feeling.
There is no easy way to do this other than simply feeling aware of what is around you. How many people get out of bed in the night to go to the bathroom and stumble into a piece of furniture or stub their toes etc. Before you go to bed, take a ‘snapshot’ of the room and imaging that you have just planted a photograph in your head of the surroundings and then forget about it. Don’t dwell, just picture the room and go to sleep. When you have to wake up, you immediately access this photograph and then slowly and carefully walk around the room touching all of the objects that you have seen in the ‘photograph’. Your husband/wife/partner will think you are mental if they happen to wake, but this has a lot of use.
One of the best exercises you can do is to simply walk, but I am not talking about a simple stroll around the park although that is better than doing nothing!
Believe it or not, walking is not that easy to perform correctly – just take a look at people when you are next at the shopping mall or out and about. You will see people slouched and moving with no awareness or purpose.
If you have read my articles on functional strength and with reference to the squat, you will know about what I tem ‘form’ and I will go over it again. Stand with your back to a wall and with your heels and the back of your head touching the wall. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes facing forward.
The next exercises are a body raise and a leg raise. The body raise is performed like a sit up and you are going to lay flat on the floor and raise your body, using your stomach muscles to do so.
The leg raise is the reverse, lifting your legs from the flat lying position, over your head and touching the floor with your toes.
Both movements are difficult to perform correctly so I will explain!
Last time (read part 1 here) we looked at the push-up and I covered how to breathe in that short article, but I will repeat here – breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, matching the intensity of the exercise with the breathing. What I mean is that if you are performing slow push-ups for example, then your breathing will be slow, matching the motion. As the exercise becomes more intense and difficult, then your breathing will match that intensity. So if you are performing fast Ballistic push-ups, then you breath will match the speed and be coordinated,
The squat is an excellent exercise for many reasons and very functional. You must however, perform it correctly. When many people squat, they bend forward from the waist and what should be a leg exercise, becomes a back one!
To get the correct posture, stand with your back against a wall with your heels, and the back of your head touching the wall. Now notice how straight you are in your posture and this is the posture you will maintain through out the squat. Your legs should be shoulder width apart and your toes facing forward and not flared out.
I am all about functional strength and for me that means the strength that you can use and not just about a set of impressive looking muscles.
Let’s start with a simple exercise that everyone knows and that is the push up. The push up has a lot of applications in my Ballistic Combat System, but just because I use the term ‘Ballistic’ it doesn’t mean that your push-ups have to be performed in that way.
In fact, one of the best ways to start is to perform very slow deliberate push ups so that you can get used to the motion and also strengthen the tendons, joints and bones in the process.
If you can perform the motion using the knuckles, then you are killing two birds with one stone as you are strengthening as I described but also practicing the strike at the same time. Think of your fists as striking the ground and you will get to feel the weight of your body directly into the ground through your fists.
Or Special Methods Of Russian Relaxation
When you work with the Russian masters, they give you a certain feeling, of ease, of relaxation, of softness and of confidence, which if you hold and remember that feeling, your work for some time after is changed, and you do things you couldn’t do before.
Many of us go to seminars and camps and Canada and Russia for Systema. When we get home that feeling of relaxation and power lasts for a while, but after that while has past – we usually lose some of it.
Part of the Systema knowledge is learning how to first create that feeling for yourself and secondly to pass it on to others. Of course when our skill improves- any exercise we do gives us that special combination of relaxation and power.
If someone had told me a few years ago that out of a western Christian tradition would come a martial art as deep, sophisticated and evolved as the best of the oriental arts I would not have believed them. Yet there is such an art coming out of the ancient Russian culture with deep roots in the Russian Orthodox monasteries.
At its root in the present day is an exceptional man, Mikhail Ryabko. Trained by one of Stalin’s Falcons from the age of five and beginning his operational career in the Russian Spetsnaz (Special Forces) at the age of 15, Mikhail Ryabko was not only given the secrets of this ancient art, he was put in the position of repeatedly applying both the art and its principles in life and death combat on, what for much of his early life, was a day-to-day basis. This System, taught by Mikhail Ryabko, is not a shadow of what once was, it is a living practical art that even now is being applied by warriors in combat.
Lets take a more deep look at some Systema Principles.
Typically, when you are taught to punch, how to punch, you are taught to punch ‘through’ the target and to some extent this is true, as you don’t want to stop the energy before you hit the destination.
However, when you understand the principles of striking, you can learn to literally ‘dump’ the energy into the target at your will and to cause any number of effects, this is the correct way how to punch!
A Ballistic Strike should stop your opponent in his tracks – the energy should not propel him or her forward, but drop them on the spot. They should literally fall in a heap as the energy stays in the body and is not projected through as in most Martial Arts systems.
The issue of relaxation is often misunderstood within Systema classes.
It is not a case that the students should be floppy though I have known this to be a stage that some travel through in their search for relaxed movement.
Relaxation is achieved when only the muscles needed to support the body’s structure or perform a movement are used.
Unnecessary tension in the antagonistic muscles is at a minimum so that the muscles that tense to create the body’s movements do so against minimum resistance and therefore with the least energy expenditure possible.
In this clip I am talking about a punch I believe is super effective.
This is sort of a sneaky underneath punch. People don’t typically see below the chest area.
When you are standing in front of someone, say like in a possible bar altercation. And that person is getting in your face and mouthing off. Instead of winding up, which is basically telling that person you are fixing to throw a punch, you can hit em where is hurts, under the radar. They will be filling extreme uncomforted before they know what hit em.
This is a great striking techniques for landing on the solar plexus and floating rib area. I have used this before many of times and it does work!